Education and observations

It’s been a long day and I have an earned headache. Along with the rest of the senior management team, I have spent the whole of it–9:30-7 pm, with a lunch break and an hour and a half afternoon recess–at City Council.

It is oh so much the same and oh so different. There is an additional layer of formality which slows down discussion and interrogation in what, in my opinion, seems a good and useful way. Instead of barrages of unadorned questions or speeches, there is a preamble to each public statement, with everything addresed either to “your worship [the mayor]” or “through your worhsip to [the actual object of the question or comment].”

When the Council meeting was called formally this evening, at 6, there were even white gloves and a crested staff in presence, and the group recitation of a prayer.

But, in many respects, the feel is familiar, and the flow of words, of course, is plain English. With nearly two dozen Councilors, it will take me another meeting or two to learn each one’s name, district, and interests, but some got ironed into my brain by noon.

We had lots of rain during most of the day, but I was able to walk downtown to City Hall before it began, and when we left at 7, it had ceased, so I walked back along Barrington Street to, big surprise, Henry House. The ground floor was less crowded than it’s been on most of my visits, but felt overwhelming until the couple at the next table–deep in an acrimonious argument that sounded straight out of the Marin County fictional spoof, The Serial, took their leave of the rest of us.

On Sunday, I went there for brunch and seemed to be the only person in the place who wasn’t blond. And not sort of blond, but a kind of thorough and amazing gold-to-the-roots. On Sunday, the room had been full–it holds about 40–but was so quiet, in spite of that number (including a very active 18-month-old and a family of parents, grands, and six teenagers). Table manners here seem to be exquisite–perhaps people still eat together at home as well?

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3 Responses to “Education and observations”

  1. carole Says:

    Someday we’ll taste the single malts at Henry House.

  2. Yvette Says:

    Sounds like Berkeley could take a leaf out of Halifax’s book.

  3. Jackie Says:

    We say the Pledge of Allegiance here….we say it at library commission meetings, we say it at Board of Supervisor meetings, we say it at City Council meetings…and since I have six cities I have said the pledge dozens of times in the last year (a year today since we moved here!). Ironic since I refused to say it in high school as my small protest against the Vietnam War. I am, apparently, making reparations now for that refusa

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